Dockers uphill injury battle
Stephen Hill. Pic: Getty Images

Speedster Stephen Hill remains in serious doubt for Saturday night's clash with Essendon at Patersons Stadium in an outcome that could force Fremantle to make four changes.

The 22-year-old is struggling to overcome an ankle injury suffered in the win over Richmond at the MCG 10 days ago.

Hill limped off the ground in the first quarter but returned and played through the pain to tally 24 possessions in a brave effort.

Dockers officials were understood to have been of the view late last week that Hill would not play against the Bombers.

Fremantle already face the prospect of making three changes to the side that defeated Richmond, even if Hill recovers in time.

Aaron Sandilands (foot), Zac Dawson (knee) and Hayden Ballantyne (suspension) are unavailable for a game the Dockers must win to maintain touch with the top eight.

The loss of Hill on top of Ballantyne would rob the hosts of much of their X-factor.

Hill has played every game this season and is second in clearances at the club behind only Michael Barlow.

His potential absence could force Fremantle to weigh up whether to select midfielder Anthony Morabito for his first AFL game since 2010 in a bid to inject pace into their line-up.

Morabito has strung together five league matches for Peel in a sign that he has physically recovered from the setbacks linked to his knee reconstruction, but his form has been modest.

The 20-year-old has not managed more than 19 disposals in any of those games.

The 2009 No.4 draft pick had 15 possessions and kicked a goal when Peel were on the end of a 91-point thrashing from Swan Districts on Saturday.

A source close to Morabito said a recall this week was unlikely.

Forward Michael Walters is another selection option.

The livewire is available after yesterday accepting a reprimand from the WAFL match review panel for rough conduct against Peel's Liam McKenna in the first term of Saturday's game.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon last night said Zac Clarke and Kepler Bradley were vying to replace Sandilands.

Clarke had 26 disposals, eight marks and booted a goal for East Perth against South Fremantle on Saturday, while Bradley finished with 18 touches and a major in a versatile role for West Perth in their win over Perth.

Alex Silvagni looms as a like-for-like replacement for Dawson and Nick Lower's solid WAFL form has built his case for a recall to bolster Fremantle's midfield.

The West Australian

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